Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. For some positions, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject is required. In addition to science courses, typical courses include ergonomics, writing and communications, occupational safety management, and accident prevention.
Training Required
Occupational health and safety technicians usually receive on-the-job training. They learn about specific laws and inspection procedures, and learn to conduct tests and recognize hazards. The length of training varies with the employee’s level of experience, education, and industry in which he or she works.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 8% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
Although certification is voluntary, many employers encourage it. Certification is available through several organizations, depending on the field in which the specialists work. Specialists must have graduated from an accredited educational program and have work experience to be eligible to take most certification exams. To keep their certification, specialists usually are required to complete periodic continuing education.
Median pay: How much do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians make?
$66,820 Annual Salary
$32.13 per hour

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians collect data on and analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. Technicians work with specialists in conducting tests and measuring hazards to help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and the general public.

What do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians do?

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Inspect, test, and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices to ensure that they follow safety standards and government regulations
  • Prepare written reports on their findings
  • Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions
  • Evaluate programs on workplace health and safety
  • Educate employers and workers about workplace safety by preparing and  providing training programs
  • Demonstrate the correct use of safety equipment
  • Investigate incidents and accidents to identify what caused them and how they might be prevented

Occupational health and safety specialists examine the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. They may examine factors such as lighting, equipment, materials, and ventilation. Technicians may check to make sure that workers are using required protective gear, such as masks and hardhats.

Some develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.

Careers for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

  • CHSTs
  • Certified indoor environmentalists
  • Certified industrial hygienists
  • Certified professional ergonomists
  • Construction health and safety technicians
  • Environmental health sanitarians
  • Environmental health technologists
  • Ergonomics technicians
  • Ergonomists
  • Health and safety inspectors
  • Industrial hygiene technicians
  • Industrial hygienists
  • Industrial safety and health specialists
  • Mine examiners
  • OHSTs
  • Occupational health and safety technologists
  • Occupational safety and health inspectors
  • Radiological health specialists

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